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Everything posted by paulraphael

  1. Exactly. Whatever you get, avoid things that can have errors that generate error messages. I'm in your boat right now, kind of. In a new (to us) 120 year-old house that ravenously devours money. I'd love to replace the 30" electric range with a 36" Bluestar. But there's no budget this year for a major kitchen Reno. I have the luxury of waiting, because the stupid electric range is not broken (yet). Also the kitchen isn't starved for workspace. Sounds to me like you need that 6" of counter space more than another pair of burners. If this is true, go for the 30" range. The cool factor of the big one might come with a worse workflow. I want 36" for fairly specific reasons. I'd like to have the so-called simmer burner front center, because I do lots of sauces, and the regular open burners are too big for things like the 0.75L saucepans I often use. I also find crowding to be a nuisance with big stock pots and 12" skillets, etc. But 36" ranges have some drawbacks. One is that the oven is probably going to be bigger and more energy-hungry than what you need most of the time. I don't think you get more power with the 36" oven, which means you'll get longer preheat times. The 30" ovens are plenty big. I believe they'll take a full-sheet pan (can someone confirm?)
  2. Ha. No, just curious. Unfortunately your range is from a time when they were having major quality problems. I'd say "quality control" but many of the problems look like design flaws ... like the oven floor rivets, and the door hinges. They've fixed all this stuff. I know that doesn't do you any good. And I know no one wants to spend $400 on an oven thermostat—but I don't think that's the worst news. Those are parts that do die over the course of decades. A bonus with Bluestar is they come apart like lego and are easy to work on. There are youtube videos that show you how to replace the part, and probably the only tool you'll need is a philips screwdriver. The only thing that looks tricky is routing wires through the oven.
  3. Is this the RCS you bought in the early 2010s?
  4. Some believe gingerbread architecture should fit the spirit of its time.
  5. Interesting. Too late for us for that. Recessed fixtures are all installed.
  6. I haven't seen that Hue switch. We're fans of Hue lights for some rooms (probably not the kitchen). Our favorite switch for them is the Aurora (ironically, it's made by Lutron). It's exactly like the one you linked but only one button. We find it perfect. You don't choose scenes from the wall switch ... you just get the last one used. But you get on, off, and dimming, with a 100% intuitive single control. It can snap on to an un-smart wall switch (and keep you from turning off the hard-wired switch) or stick on a dummy wall plate. We love these for the living room and bedroom. But they only control Hue bulbs, and there aren't any of these that make sense for the kitchen.
  7. Yes, the Diva switch looks like an improvement. And it's new as of this summer. We're hoping they have an improved Pico in the works. It's so strange to me that I haven't found a single review complaining about the user interface. They have Pico switches at my girlfriend's office; she says everyone fears / mocks them.
  8. There's enough liquid that you can melt the chocolate directly into it. I usually heat the liquid in a saucepan first. Hot enough to melt chocolate but well below simmering. Then stir in the chocolate. It should go right into an emulsion. You can take it off the heat (or turn heat very low) before similarly stirring in the butter.
  9. If you're looking for more intensity and a more "chocolate-forward" sauce, it's hard to beat a water ganache. There's no dairy to mute the chocolate flavor. This is one I adapted from James Peterson (he calls it "chocolate butter sauce.") It takes a bit more care in reheating than ganache-based sauces. Use chocolate in the ~70% cocoa solids range. If the sauce will be featured in a dish, use a good one. 120g / 4 oz bittersweet chocolate (if liquid used is sweet, you can use 3-1/2 oz. bittersweet and 1/2 oz unsweetened) 90g / 3 oz liquid (water, strong coffee, liqueur, fruit brandy, fortified wine, whisky, etc.). Mix 'n match to taste. 45g / 1.5 oz butter, cool, in small pieces -melt chocolate in the liquid over medium-low heat in a saucepan. keep liquid well below a simmer. -lower heat or remove from heat, and swirl in the butter. if you do it a few chunks at a time and keep the temperature moderate, the butter and chocolate will stay emulsified, and you will have a glassy-smooth texture, like ganache but with a greater sheen. notes: -amount of liquid can be varied to control consistency -this is a more fragile emulsion than ganache, so be careful if you need to reheat it. let it come to room temperature slowly, without disturbing it. then heat in a water bath over water that's below a simmer.
  10. I haven't compared. Just relaying the method Mhyrvold recommends. I suspect he'd say that you lose smoke flavor to the bag juices if you smoke first.
  11. Would be best to take it out of the freezer before cooking. 😛 But yeah, SV followed by smoking is a common practice. Nathan Mhyrvold suggests that when doing this the most important thing is getting the moisture content of the meat's surface right. If it's too dry, the aromatic molecules in the smoke won't adhere. If it's too wet, the molecules will adhere to the juices ... and then drip off. You're aiming for a surface that feels tacky. His trick is to go from the SV bag to a warm oven. Maybe 200°F? Just long enough to achieve that tackiness. Then into the smoker. If you do this, you should be able to get a deep smoked flavor with very little smoking time.
  12. I just use a pan under the pan. For a very small saucepan, my 6" cast iron skillet works perfectly. For a medium saucepan, I use a 10" frying pan underneath. Either an iron skillet or all-clad. If you really need to keep things mellow put some water in the outer pan.
  13. Here's what we decided. No idea yet if these were good decisions; we're still waiting for the electricians to finish their upheaval, and we'll have to wait for some of the fixtures to arrive and then install them ourselves. The kitchen's about 12 x 12.5 feet, with a small island in the middle. We're planning to build a bigger island as the next minor renovation. In a year or so we want to do some bigger renovation, but keep the lighting and island. We're going with 4 6" recessed fixtures, inset from the room corners. These will be on their own dimmer and will house Philips bulbs that get warmer when they dim (like incandescents). In the middle of the room we're putting in a 6 foot track with minimalist fixtures. We'll try Soraa 25° spot lamps in these. 3 for the island, and up to 2 more for whatever needs it. For under-cabinet lighting, we're still doing research. There are some usable lights there for the time being. The ongoing debate is about dimmers. The kitchen has 3 entrances, and we'd like a switch at each. To hook up dimmers in a 3-way situation like this requires smart dimmers with wireless remotes, and unfortunately we dislike all the options. The top choice in everyone's book Lutron Caseta. But the remote dimmer looks like this: My partner and I are both involved in design and UX, and find this jaw-droppingly awful. I mean, imagine staggering into the kitchen late at night for a glass of water. You reach around the corner for the general area of the switch, and ... you have to decipher this horror show by feel. This would enrage us many times a day, every day. Lutron seems to have very good engineers, but they never thought to hire a UX designer. And so the world suffers. We're open to suggestions on something better. We may try this. So far we haven't found reasonable alternatives. Many thanks to everyone in this thread, and to James Blair, who's very helpful post was removed by moderators for technical reasons. He got us thinking about emphasizing adjustability and adaptability.
  14. I can't even wrap my head around all the rum raisin hate. The flavors make such a natural pairing that it seems preordained. If you are against this flavor, which objectively embodies goodness, I will assume you're a foreign bot, created to sow discord and undermine democracy. Prove me wrong.
  15. If loving rum raisin is a crime, then let me be guilty. Definitely macerate the raisins in rum for a good while to keep them soft. And rummy. As for the base recipe, it's a good idea with booze recipes to adjust the sugar blend so they don't get too soft. This lets use lots of rum (only a problem if you're selling commercially). Here's some tips. A little out of date, but the basic ideas are useful.
  16. Most sources I've seen recommend against adding any kind of secret sauce to a starter. The reasoning is that you'll start selecting for strains of yeast and bacteria that thrive on these other ingredients. If those ingredients don't make up a significant part of your bread dough, then your culture will be out of its element and probably won't perform as well as one that evolved for that environment. It's why you should generally use the same kind of flour for the culture as for the bread. As a practical matter, there's probably no way to know if you'll like the bread better or worse (or like the process better or worse) without trying it. But this would be a very time-consuming experiment ... not one I'm interested in taking on. Sourdough is complicated enough for me even when I keep it simple.
  17. Then again, you might think my ice cream is terrible!
  18. Our electrician strongly recommended using a pair of 4" cans for the island if we didn't want to use pendants. He said that in his experience trying to use 6" cans (floods) or trying to use a single light gave poor light quality for this purpose. I don't know how to judge his judgment, but he's clearly a lighting enthusiast, and has strong opinions about the topic. Meanwhile, this is the first time we've thought about it. Edited to add: ceilings are 9-1/2 feet, so a pair of spot lights will probably have plenty of dispersion.
  19. Sad to hear about this also. When I wrote to them about new feet for my Boardsmith board I thought it was his son who replied, but I might be mistaken. I just wrote again to see if they'd do a top for a 32x50 island. I'm sure just the shipping from texas would blow my budget, but it doesn't hurt to ask.
  20. What about Island lighting? The current setup is a couple of pendant lights. I see this is trending everywhere. I can't stand the visual clutter. Currently going with the electrician's recommendation to put a pair of 4" cans directly above the island, while using 6" cans for more ambient lighting around the room's perimeter. This plus an undercounter solution. Am I missing something by dismissing the pendants?
  21. 3000K is my preference too. It looks bright relative to standard incandescent lighting, but is still warm and doesn't look clinical. I also use 3000K-3200K as print evaluation lighting in photography, so I'm used to how things look at this color temp. These days for much of the house we use Philips Hue lighting, so everything is whatever color we want it to be. Much more fun than painting, and you can do it from the couch.
  22. Can you say more about the LED strips? Hard to tell what they're showing in the product listing. Looks intriguing.
  23. I'm popping the popcorn right now. Please tell!
  24. No trouble getting the light to all the places you need? Do you know what kind of fixtures they are?
  25. What do you love, hate, wish for? We're about to embark on the fun project of having all the 120 year-old wiring ripped out of a house and replaced with more useful / less deadly equivalents. It's an opportunity to replace fixtures while we already have gaping holes in the walls and ceilings. Currently the kitchen has a couple of quite ugly track light fixtures, plus some DIY under-counter lighting. All put in by the previous owner. The quality of light is pretty good, in terms of useful work lighting plus plus pleasant ambient light. We'd like to have cleaner, better looking fixtures, along with counter lighting that's easier to use. But we want to make sure we don't end up with something that looks good while creating worse lighting. Our electrician is suggesting recessed lighting. He can install it for around half his usual price since he'll be all up in the plaster anyway. We have no experience with recessed fixtures, other than in other people's kitchens with old versions, where the lighting seems bad (dim, and not where you want it). Is modern recessed lighting better? I'm open to track lighting also. Just not the current fixtures.
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